Labeling Theory The fourth main sociological theory of deviance is labeling theory.
Labeling theory refers to the idea that individuals become deviant when a deviant label is applied to them; they adopt the label by exhibiting the behaviors, actions, and attitudes associated with the label.
Labeling theory argues that people become deviant as a result of others forcing that identity upon them.
Labeling theory allows us to understand how past behaviors of a deviant-labeled individual are reinterpreted in accordance with their label.
This process of recasting past actions in light of a current deviant identity is referred to as "retrospectivelabeling. " A clear example of retrospectivelabeling is seen in how the perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre were recast after the incident took place.
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